Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for many public benefits. And Texas offers less than most states.
Edna Yang of American Gateways, a provider of immigration legal services in Texas, said undocumented immigrants in the state qualify for only a small number of benefits, including emergency medical services, food aid for children and public education.
The governor’s office has said the cost of each additional student enrolled in Texas public schools is about $6,100 per year, not including the cost of providing bilingual and special education services, which add up to more than $2,000 in additional expenses.
The last time the state comptroller studied the issue was in 2006. The report found that while educating undocumented children cost about $1 billion at the time, unauthorized migration into the state had an overall positive effect. in the Texas economy. Mr. Huennekens, of the immigration reform group, said state programs for students with limited English proficiency cost more than $7 billion in 2016.
But banning undocumented students could change the system for everyone, said Zeph Capo, president of the Texas AFT, a teachers’ union, who said schools could lose state per-pupil funding that goes along with those students, as well as the additional money sent by the federal government. “Not all undocumented children are in a school or in a school district,” he said. “It’s going to hurt everyone.”
Attitudes about immigration have changed in Texas, where former Republican governors like George W. Bush and Rick Perry have struck a relatively moderate tone. Mr. Perry, during his tenure, signed legislation allowing undocumented college students to access in-state tuition and financial aid at Texas public universities.
But taking a tough stance on immigration has been a politically comfortable place for Abbott. He used the issue to push back against challengers in the Republican primary, and has returned to it in his general election contest against Beto O’Rourke, the Democrat and former congressman from El Paso.